The Gorilla Press – A Natural Thing (Unnatural To Me)

written by: January 20, 2012
Release Date: December 1st, 2011


The Gorilla Press compares itself to everything from Mogwai and the Foo Fighters, and somehow this Chicago band finds a way to meld these varied influences into something other than a train wreck. Its sophomore album, A Natural Thing (Unnatural to Me), sees the group attempt to meld these disparate influences while simultaneously finding its own voice.

“On Fire” opens the album with a punch. It is an uptempo indie-rock sing-along that actually rocks. It comes out of the gate boasting layered guitars, and occasionally borders on post-rock in spots. By the time “On Fire” ends it appears that the Gorilla Press has given listeners a summary of what all the band has to offer.

From there A Natural Thing (Unnatural to Me) slows rather significantly. There are a few rockers spread across the album, but its emphasis certainly seems to be on moodier arrangements. Sadly, this approach doesn’t always yield the strongest results. What makes the Gorilla Press successful is the fact that the group is composed of adept musicians that avoid overplaying. Drummer Reid Erickson adds a unique backbeat to each song, allowing the group’s rhythm section to stand out amongst some fairly standard rock affair. However, the fact that the group is known for having members switch instruments during live performances makes it seem that the group’s roles and ambitions are never clearly defined.

While the Gorilla Press adds layers of effects and reverb to A Natural Thing (Unnatural to Me) it sends up making the album’s production seem fairly one-note. In the moments where the group is rocking, it makes sense. However, when it quiets itself for slower arrangements, it feels as if the songs have been removed of all their energy. The guitar work of Kirill Orlov and Chris Kang has the ability to sound both aggressive and vulnerable over the course of the album, but they are stuck in the middle of a reverb purgatory.

When the Gorilla Press is on, it does an impressive job of mixing genres without ever being overly proggy or self-indulgent. Yet when it falls flat – as it does on numerous occasions – it is due to an apparent internal identity crisis.

A Natural Thing (Unnatural to Me) is an interesting release from a band that has a large amount of potential. If the Gorilla Press pulled back the reverb and went for a more natural sound on the recording perhaps the album could have been more effective. The songwriting is there, but it is obscured, and often overshadowed by lackluster production choices.

The Gorilla Press – A Natural Thing (Unnatural To Me) tracklist:

  1. “On Fire”
  2. “The Night You Walked With Me”
  3. “Everything That Can Be Done”
  4. “Kneejerk”
  5. “Sunrise”
  6. “Whale in the Sea Pt. 1”
  7. “Whale in the Sea Pt. 2”
  8. “To the Hills”
  9. “When I Care”
  10. “Possibilities”